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Users Group: Board of Directors Minutes

Minutes of the meeting on October 27, 2000

Present: Charlie Glashausser, Gary Adams, Rory Miskimen, Alicia Uzzle, Gail Dodge, Mark Jones, Dave Mack, Alan Nathan, Haiyan Gao

  1. Hermann Grunder gave his personal views on a wide variety of issues, including the budget process, the prospects and possible timescales for a 12 GeV upgrade, the outlook for nuclear physics in the coming years. Assuming a well-written NSAC LRP, he anticipates funding for both RIA and the upgrade. JLab will play an active role in constructing cryomodules for SNS, RIA, and the JLab upgrade. He stressed that serious construction for the upgrade, beyond improvements to the accelerator, could not realistically start until about 2 years after the start of RIA, or about 2006, with first beam delivered in 2008 or 2009. SURA is putting together a search committee, which will have an "unencumbered search", resulting in a new director in about 6 months. He emphasized that the BOD can play an important role by providing a list of criteria and names to the search committee (Later in the meeting, Dennis Skopik confirmed that there will one or more members of the Users on the search committee). The BOD collectively expressed its appreciation to Hermann for all his efforts on behalf of the Users during his tenure as Director.
  2. Christoph Leemann talked about the current state of the laboratory. He pledged to have an active agenda while interim director and not be simply a caretaker for the office. The primary agenda for the next 5 years is to run the program. He anticipates 2001-4 as the time scale over which JLab is actively involved in design and construction of cavities for SNS, with the peak years being 2002-3. The start of 12 GeV construction would follow the SNS work.. Although a 6 GeV beam has been achieved, there are problems with elevated trip rates and lost klystrons, and a cost effective way of delivering a 6 GeV beam to experiments has not yet been worked out. He anticipated first experiments with 6 GeV sometime in 2002. He mentioned that a final upgrade of the polarized source is needed for G0 and anticipates polarizations of up to 90% in the future. He empahsized that he has an "open door" policy toward users.
  3. Alan Nathan discussed the organization of the annual Users Group meeting. The dates are tentatively set for June 20-22 (Wednesday-Friday). The actual meeting will be organized by Alan along the lines of the June 1999 meeting, with a business meeting early in the meeting, laboratory presentations by the "usual suspects", and physics talks by representatives of each of the three halls. In addition to the meeting, we decided to have two nonparallel workshops: one on exotic meson searches, to be jointly organized by Gary Adams and Haiyan Gao, and one on parity-violating electron scattering, to be jointly organized by Dave Mack and Mark Jones. The organizers will come up with a tentative agenda by the end of December, keeping in close contact with Alan, who is charged with the overall planning for the meeting.
  4. Dave Mack gave a summary of the end-of-run reports. Mostly the tone was positive and upbeat, with nearly everyone getting 100% of their expected data. A few problems were noted and these were addressed by the Hall leaders (see below). Currently, these reports are read only by Charlie, Dave, and Larry Cardman. Christoph suggested that an executive summary be forwarded to him, and the BOD agreed to do that. Charlie asked whether the users as a whole should be surveyed on issues related to the running of experiments (as opposed to the quality of life survey already conducted--see below). Dave remarked that, while this was a good idea in principle, we have to be careful of "surveying people to death." Nevertheless, we agreed that such a survey might be useful and gave Mark (with help from Dave) the job of putting together questions for such a survey.
  5. The hall leaders discussed issues raised by the end-of-run reports. Javier Gomez (for the absent Kees De Jager) reports that facility development time has been scheduled to study the HRS optics. Radiation damage to electronics in Hall A is starting to be a problem, which is being addressed by the technical staff. A similar problem was mentioned by Roger Carlini in Hall C, who remarks that there is no easy fix: either one uses better electronics or one shields it from the radiation. Bernard Mecking mentioned that the leakage current problem in Hall B is a problem when running in the 50 pA range. The accelerator people are still trying to come up with a solution, and in the meantime constant vigilance is required. He also remarks that the recent change in the running schedule has given Hall B an extra month of unanticipated running time. He discussed several ways that that time might be used. He reminded us that the current schedule puts unprecedented strain on the accelerator capabilities with a 5.7 GeV beam and polarized running in all three halls. Finally, he remarked that we only have one working polarized gun; the 2nd one has been down for some time. In view of the large number of experiments that require polarized beam, this is a potential problem.
  6. Charlie Glashausser reported on the SURA thesis prize, the first of which was awarded jointly to Bart Terburg and Ioana Nicolescu, who gave talks at the Users Group meeting at the recent DNP meeting. After getting feedback from the 1999 selection committee on the difficulties of choosing the "best" thesis, it was concluded that a set of rational criteria for the prize needs to be formulated and put in writing so they are known to everyone. Among the criteria discussed are quality of the research, depth and quality of the written thesis, service to the laboratory, and the impact of the work. It was agreed that foreign language theses--while presenting some possible difficulties to the reviewers--should be included. Moreover, theses in the areas of instrumentation, accelerator physics, and theory should also be included. Some discussion ensued about the review procedure although nothing definite was decided. Charlie agreed to put together a draft set of criteria and review procedures and circulate it to the rest of the BOD. The deadline for nominations for the next award is March 1, 2001. The winner will present a talk at the annual June 2001 Users Group meeting.
  7. Gail Dodge and Alicia Uzzle reported on graduate student issues. In an informal survey by Alicia, there seems to be some sentiment that the prices in the cafeteria place a burden on graduate students. Another serious issue among the students is the difficulty obtaining access to Trailer City during off-hours (see item 11 below).
  8. Larry Cardman discussed issues related to the 12 GeV upgrade. Draft 0.9 of the document "The Science Driving the 12 GeV Upgrade of CEBAF" was handed out. November 10 is the deadline for sending comments to him on the text. The document will be distributed at the DNP Town Meeting on Electromagnetic & Hadronic Physics (Dec. 1-4), during which one afternoon will be devoted to presentations and discussion about the upgrade. He encouraged the BOD to send a message to the users urging them to attend and actively participate in the Town Meeting, to contact the speakers charged with presenting highlights since the last LRP in order to assure that important results from the JLab program are shown, and to consider submitting an abstract to the contributed session. Much discussion ensued about the agenda of the Town Meeting as well as the politics of the LRP process.
  9. Gary Adams reported on PAC issues. There have been no negative reports from the Users regarding the jeopardy process. Larry Cardman reported that the PAC will continue to be directed to approve only 30 beam days plus half of the jeopardized time per hall until the large backlog of approved experiments is reduced. It was confirmed that Peter Barnes will take over as chair of the PAC starting with the Summer '01 committee.
  10. Bob May discussed testing and training issues. According to the recent survey, about 60% of the respondees feel that the process is appropriate, the schedules are adequate, and that the access to the necessary information is sufficiently easy to obtain. However, the fact that 40% do not agree makes this one of the most important concerns raised in the survey. The "practical factors" part of the radiation training will now be a one-time exam, which will take place in the long-ago-promised Rad Con trailer. However, previous training will not be "grandfathered" in, so we all have to take the practical factors exam one more time. The exam takes about 20 minutes and will be given on demand during regular working hours. It is possible for people to get a temporary "red badge", good for up to 30 days, with no training, allowing the person to have access to radiation areas (e.g., the experimental halls) with an escort. Starting early in 2001, it will be possible to get radiation training (but not the radiation test) over the web from anywhere in the world. The test will continue to be given at JLab, however, under proctored conditions. There was a consensus among the BOD members that the training and testing policies and procedures should be clearly stated on the JLab web site. Bob agreed to do this and to inform the Users of this via a one-time mailing.
  11. Haiyan Gao reported on other aspects of the quality of life survey not covered earlier. Dissatisfaction with the office situation for Users was one of the major complaints. Dennis Skopik reported that some of the office pressure will be relieved with the construction of ARC-II, which will start soon. On a 5-year time scale, there may be an addition of a new wing to Cebaf Center. It was suggested that the lab provide temporary offices to users on a "sign-up" basis. A related issue is the current difficulty obtaining access to Trailer City during off hours. Dennis Skopik agreed to look into re-issuing keys to the buildings until the card-entry system is operational. Note added: Dennis Skopik reported on November 7 that the card-entry system to the trailers is now operational. Another source of user dissatisfication is the difficulty that short-term visitors have obtaining computer access (see item 12).
  12. Mark Jones, who is the Users Liaison on the JLab Computer Committee, reported on computer issues. The Computer Committee is addressing such issues as added tape drives, disk space, and cpu, and (according to Mark) is moving in the right direction. Mark reports that there is lab support for Users who bring Linux machines to JLab and want to make them more secure. This should be advertised to the users. There is still a problem with Users having access to computing facilities when visiting for short stays. The BOD recommends to the lab to double the number of PC's available in public areas and to maintain them in good working order. Note added: Dennis Skopik reported on November 7 that up to five new PC's will be installed, as per the BOD recommendation.
  13. In executive session, there was some discussion about our desired criteria for a new director. There needs to be an election of 3 new BOD members, who will take office at the time of the June 2001 Users Meeting. The next BOD meeting will take place sometime during February or March of 2001.
  14. Action items:
    • Request to lab to double the number of PC's available to users (done)
    • Send reminder to users regarding Town Meeting (done)
    • Request to lab for temporary offices
    • Draft criteria for thesis prize
    • Organize slate of candidates for next BOD election
    • Draft survey related to experiment issues
    • Decide on date for next meeting
    • Plan June 2001 Users Group Meeting and workshops
    • Follow up on Trailer City access problem (done)

Note added: The BOD expresses appreciation to Dennis Skopik for taking care of several of these action items, in advance of the preparation of these minutes.

Reporting for the board,
Alan M. Nathan